Saint Patrick Catholic School November Blog

"Be Not Afraid"

November signals the end of the liturgical year, and we set aside the month to pray for
the dead and the Holy Souls in Purgatory. We are reminded of our Catholic duty in 2
Maccabees 12:46, “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead,
that they may be loosed from sins.”

This year is particularly poignant because of the shadow of COVID which continues to
loom around us and just about everyone knows someone who has succumbed to this
disease since March. But in the cloak of darkness, we can take solace in history: where
there is death, there is also life.

The Spanish Flu of 1918 - 1920 claimed the lives of 500 million people and nearly ⅓ of
the world’s population was affected. And yet, during the pandemic several important
cultural and world leaders were born. For instance, Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson
Mandela was born in 1918, a few months after the start of the Spanish Flu. So was
composer Leonard Bernstein. In early 1919, the famed baseball player Jackie Robinson
was born in Georgia, as was gifted singer Nat King Cole. And in May 1920, as the
Spanish Flu finally subsided, Saint John Paul the Great was born -- during a solar
eclipse, no less!

In other words, we should try to heed the advice of Saint John Paul: “Be not afraid!”
Though we don’t know how long this pandemic will last and how it may affect us
personally, we can have hope that in the midst of this suffering, there will be men and
women born among us that will bring beauty and peace in the world in the years to
come for our children and grandchildren. And we can bring our current trials to the One
who was born in poverty, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whose birth changed the

It’s also worth noting that we have a special opportunity during this month to obtain a
plenary indulgence for the souls in Purgatory. This year, the indulgence can be obtained
throughout the entire month, instead of during the traditional Octave of All Saints. Those
who wish to obtain a plenary indulgence must also fulfill the ordinary conditions:
Confession, reception of the Eucharist, and prayer for the intentions of the Pope. But
those who cannot leave the house for serious reasons (the pandemic, elderly, sick, etc.)
can participate in the indulgence from home. You can find more information here.
As we proceed through this November, we arrive at the last Sunday of the month and
we transition to Advent. The liturgical color changes to purple for a time of penance as
we wait and prepare for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ. Throughout this month,
let us pray unceasingly, “Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine
upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in
peace. Amen.”

Contributor: Melissa K,  Mom of 7 in VA